YOUR article “Home truths on the challenge to make Scotland a net-zero nation” (Jan 16) makes for a very depressing read. It makes clear that decarbonising properties In Scotland is set to cost in excess of £33 billion. I have often wondered if this figure has been adjusted for the current rate of inflation. If not, the completely unachievable also becomes the completely unaffordable.

I understand that Scotland produces less than 0.1% of the world’s CO2, and it seems that Scottish homes account for around 13% of these CO2 emissions. If my maths is correct, that would amount to a figure of less than 0.013%. In any case a very small number.

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In contrast, the government of Brazil have recently been granted an eight-year window of opportunity, by COP26 agreements, to destroy what remains of the Amazon rainforest. Their record on climate change is indeed dire. Since Mr Bolsonaro took office in 2019, the rate of deforestation is up by 45%. Brazil’s total greenhouse-gas emissions rose 9.5% last year. The government of China is continuing to build a coal-fired power station almost every week and the government of Australia will continue to dig up and sell open-cast coal for the foreseeable future.

More than two million homes in Scotland use mains gas as their primary heating fuel. There are currently only around 278,000 dwellings that have a renewable or very low-emission heating system. The Scottish Government has set 2045 as the target date for emissions from homes to “all but disappear”. If only around 3000 renewable heating systems are currently being installed each year, this needs to be vastly and quickly scaled up, with an interim target of one million homes to be retrofitted by 2030.

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It seems, according to the Heat in Buildings Strategy, that mixed-use properties, such as tenement flats and those above commercial properties, will have a “bespoke approach”. I have no idea what that means and I suspect the authors of the strategy have even less. As a former Renfrewshire Council convener of housing, I wish the government the very best of luck in trying to apportion and collect costs in mixed-tenure buildings – they are certainly going to need it!

Apparently one of the Scottish Government’s main goals of this policy is to reduce fuel poverty and ensure future energy costs are affordable. This is clearly laughable as it will cost an estimated average of £12,000 per home to carry out the work required. The current Scottish Government has no control over the current massive increases in fuel prices and, more to the point, lacks the ambition to take control by investing in a national energy company.

I wonder what the penalties will be for those homeowners who are unwilling, or more likely unable, to rip out their existing heating system and replace it with new green one. That might all turn into a very interesting issue at some future Scottish Parliament election.

I sense a similarity between this green dream scheme and the legislation coming into force on February 1 which requires every property to have an interlinked fire alarm system. Under the new rules homes must have interlinked smoke alarms in the living room, hallways and landings and a heat alarm in the kitchen. A £500,000 fund to help families meet the cost of the new alarms has helped just 800 people. Half of this funding has already been used.

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The requirement for linked alarms has already been delayed by a year due to the pandemic. There have been hold-ups in the supply of alarms, as well as public awareness issues. I suspect that a large percentage of Scottish homes will not have these alarms in place by February 1, which will possibly render their home insurance policy worthless.

Politicians of all parties need to understand that their actions have consequences, some very costly and unintended, for the rest of us.

Brian Lawson